Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas from Lily's Perspective

Hannah gave Lily her digital camera for Christmas.

A gift that Lily LOVES!!!!

After opening the camera before services on Christmas Eve Lily proceeded to document her 3rd Christmas in America.

Christmas 2010, from Lily's perspective:

Me & Hannah at my sister's place before services.  

Christmas Eve services from Lily's perspective ... the screens up in front of the church
the people sitting in front of us (not good that the flash went off for this photo ...oops!)

Cousin Micah from Israel ... Lily adores him!!  At nap time & nighttime she asks "Will Micah be here when I wake up?" 

Grandma capturing my dad opening his gifts ... adorable!
Lily's new socks & candy ... don't tell her that the Tootsie Roll can was supposed to be full.  She will never know the difference.  Yum-O!

My dad & his Droid phone ... and our dog from Kentucky!
Thanks, Lil, I am trying to pop a zit here .... do you mind!!!?!?!?
Happier times with white zinfindel!

Cousin Dave checking out Hannah's new phone (that was the gift that KNOCKED her socks off!!!!)  I will try to post the video of when she got the phone.  She went C-R-A-Z-Y!!!!  Many reasons why my 9 year old now needs a phone.   I am well aware that 9 is VERY young for a phone. 
Cousins Sarah at the Christmas dinner table

We all enjoyed the meal immensely!
Cousin Dave ... love you, dude!
Lily's view at the Christmas dinner table

Taking pictures of herself ... Lily & cousin Sarah!
Ooops ... thumb in front of part of the lens!!!

My parents gave the girls Build a Bears with their voices inside the animals.  Precious gifts that they love!!!

Happy days for my girls!

God is good & we continue to stand in awe at His amazing work in our lives!!! 

Merry Christmas from us in very snowy Philadelphia!! !

If you get a text from a 502 number it might be Hannah ... in 2 days she has become a texting champion!  Good thing for unlimited text service!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Time on the East Coast

I woke up this morning and before the day began I started to feel overwhelmed that it was going to be a hard day ... for many reasons.

And then, thankfully, my mind woke up & I remembered:

I have no reason to complain,

no reason to feel down &

every reason to be thankful.

I am a blessed mother to 2 precious girls.

Two absolute miracles.

Three years ago at this time I was still waiting for Lily in China. I knew nothing about her. Just waiting & trusting the Lord for the gift of daughter number two. Those days of waiting were sometimes so completely agonizing.

Two years ago at this time I was at the NIH with Hannah for her first round of treatement to fight Aplastic Anemia.

Life has been difficult these past few years.

I sure hope I am not a downer to any of you blog readers but life has been tough and I don't candy coat any of it ... to myself or to anyone else.

Despite life's difficult circumstances, my kids are healthy -- I am healthy, I have a loving family & the Lord that encourages my heart to "not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself -- each day has enough trouble of its own."

God is good.

He has been faithful to me in every way.

I can trust in Him.

I can rest in Him.

I am thankful for the Lord's peace that surpasses understanding -- even in the midst of confusion, difficulty & despair.

The girls are enjoying an East Coast vacation with my family. It has been nice to be off from the routine of school & just be with my family.

We were able to drive the 12 hours from Kentucky. So nice to pack up & hit the road without having to worry about flights, TSA, baggage, etc.

Hopefully I can get my camera to cooperate & I will be able to upload some Christmas Eve pictures tomorrow night.

Hannah's socks are going to be knocked off by one of her Christmas gifts -- cannot wait to see her face!!!

All God's best from the East Coast,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Beyond Words

Sweet Ashlynn lost her wonderful mother. 

Darryl no longer has his amazing wife.

An incredible teacher is gone & our girl scout troop leader that tried to get us to do something other than crafts is no longer here.

She is with the Lord and with Roisin getting the party ready for the rest of us!

Shay is no longer in pain & no longer suffering through cancer that just keeps spreading.

And for that,

I am thankful.

Despite our pain and the incredible loss for so many.

Shay, you were the bravest of brave, you encouraged Hannah through her illness & even came to see her at the hospital, which I know for you WAS A HUGE DEAL.

You fought til the bitter end for Ashlynn & you were blessed to have a husband by your side that is an example to every man.

When I left for Kentucky I told you I would still be "down the street" -- well, girlfriend, the day will come when we will be neighbors again, except this time we will walk the streets of gold!

Can't wait to see you & Roisin .... Thanks for being a friend, an example, a sister, a neighbor & an role model to my girls.

We will always be here for Ashlynn and for your Bubba.

You will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Trip to Check Numbers & Normal Stuff

So last week on Wednesday night Hannah started complaining of "I don't feel good". 

Thursday she stayed home from school & sat on the couch almost the entire day.  I just thought she was fighting something normal.

Then Friday morning she slept LONG past when the bus would normally pick her up at the end of our driveway.  When I woke her up, again, she was complaining of "not feeling good."

So I know it shouldn't ....

But my heart just dropped.

Hit the floor. 

Tumbled down the street. 

Down the hill & into the gutter of thoughts of "oh my goodness .. what if???"

So off we went to the Pediatric Hematology / Oncology office in downtown Louisville.

The waiting area was jam packed.  Packed because they were closing at noon and because there are A LOT of sick kids! 

I made nice with the receptionist & got Hannah a prescription to go across the street to the Children's Hospital outpatient to have her numbers checked.

Hannah's blood got drawn through a finger prick .... & we waited for the CBC results. 

Just me & Hannah.

Once again, the two of us in hospital setting.

My mind was R.A.C.I.N.G. .....

the nurse came back out & handed me the report with Hannah's numbers:


I just started balling. 

Poor Hannah.  I hold it together so much for her but this time I just couldn't.  All the emotions of everything just came pouring out. 

We talked on our walk back to the car.  Real casual about if her numbers had dropped & she said "I would have to go for a bone marrow transplant". 

We talked about it like we were talking about taking my car to get washed. 

Just so casual..... and it is very much NOT A CASUAL THING!!

A surreal moment for me but I have to keep it all normal for her ..  even though her numbers are recovered right now, the possibility of relapse is still there.  

I trust the Lord for EACH & EVERY day & I know He will continue to guide & direct our steps ... even if they end up pacing the halls of a hospital unit again one day.  

Monday was a snow day (Hannah's first EVER!) but before the day was done Hannah had a high fever & a sore throat.  

So guess what?  Miss Hannah now has strep throat! 

As much as I'd like to not have strep throat going around --- it is a blessing to have a child that can fight an infection with normal anti-biotics, hot chocolate & lots of love!!

God is good and I am forever grateful for His unconditional love & the miracle of Hannah's healing .....

All God's best from HOME,

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Day in the Life of Lily

Lily loves to be behind the camera.

Hannah has a small digital camera that she got while she was in the hospital.

Lily loves to hijack that camera & snap away.

A Day in the Life of Lily:

Me after I brushed her hair in her room.  
Kim, notice the photos on the wall that she taped up near her bed.  A few are upside down -- all are covered in tape.  
Send tape for Christmas ... she can't get enough of it!
Basket with puzzles & a photo of her & her foster sister, Meredith.  
We love you Mei-Mei!!
She LOVED this picture: her baby & her shoes!!
Mom jeans .. while we wait at the auto repair place.
Self portrait.  What a beauty!!!

While I was making a purchase at J.C. Penny's
Shoppers waiting while mommy took forever talking to the nice lady.
This lady suspected Lily was a Chinese spy.

I was holding her on the escalator & she was literally yelling at these people, in an "Auntie Mom" kind of voice, (NOT QUIET):
"SAY CHEESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  
They were not interested in the Lily-Ratzzi
A look below ...
Life's good in a mini van with a DVD player ... what a country!
Pile o' junk in the pocket in front of Lil in the mini van

The view from her window on the road leading up to our house ...

This child is a dream. 

She cracks me up. 

She is therapy for my soul. 

She is exhausting. 

She is brilliant. 

She is precious. 

She is treasured. 

She is liked.  And she knows it --

Last night Hannah cheered along with the Varsity cheerleaders for part of the high school basketball game. 
Lily was in the stands screaming away "GO MUSTANGS!!!" (like her sister was yelling) and people were turning around to look at Lily  ... because she is so adorable. 

Lily just kept smiling & looked at Jim and said "people like me."

Yes, Lil, people like you. 

Actually, people LOVE YOU! 

I pray you always have such a wonderful self-image!!!!!!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snow in Kentucky

This is officially not the kind of weather we experienced at home in California!! 

Hannah said today, "I am so happy we moved from hot California & I have snow at my own house!!" 


Just wait until I tell her to get out there & shovel the driveway.  Ha!

We have a nice hill in our back yard so today was officially the girls first time sledding!!  They were nervous so I got on the sled to show them how it's done.  Nothing like a sled to bring some happiness to your day & memories from a wonderful childhood!  I had so much fun --  Hannah caught the moment with the camera :-)

Then it was Hannah's turn ... what a blast to watch her head down that hill!!!

And then me & Lil .... what a pumpkin of a girl!!!

And some bouncing on the trampoline with snow throwing ... The girls had a great day!

We made latkes & candy cane cookies.

No matter what ... life is good & we are having fun making memories!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Best Friend

It doesn't get any better than my best friend. 

She's an unbelieveable support to me in every way. 

Even the 1,895 miles between us cannot separate our hearts. 

She is the sister I wasn't raised with but a sister in every way.   

I am so thankful for my cherished, treasured, trusted, amazing friend that God gifted me with. 

She loves me, accepts me, cries with me, laughs with me, never judges me or makes me feel less than the treasured child I am to the Lord.   

I will probably be buried right next to her. 

OK, just kidding. 

Well, maybe not?    Move over, Kevin :-) 

Kim walked every single step with me through the wait for Lily.  As she put it to a stranger, "We are getting a baby."   We laughed so hard because it sounded so ... ummmm ... well, like "we" were a "we"!!

She loved on my Lily with all her heart while I was with Hannah during her illness.  I do not know what I would have done during those days if I didn't know that Lily was being nurtured, treasured & loved on.  As she would rock Lily to sleep, she would pray that Lily would see my face instead of hers so that Lily would continue bond with me.  What a gift!!

She journeys with me now with her love & support .. despite the distance.

It makes me weep when I think of the blessing of her friendship.   

Everyone should have a Kim. 

Just not this one. 

She's taken. 

God truly does give good gifts!!

Today is December 1st, 2010.  Hard to believe what was happening on 12/1/2008. 

Today I met Hannah at the bus stop with a cupcake & we celebrated the joy of her healing!

No matter what, I truly have nothing to complain about!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving & Tree Triming

Today is the Monday after Thanksgiving & I have been weepy all day.

Can't help but reminisce about 2 years ago today & having Hannah admitted to the hospital for the very first time. Even Hannah was teary about it last night when we talked about the journey to her miraculous recovery.

What a blessing to have her healthy & at home!!

Thanksgiving was a wonderful time with my family in Illinois.

The girls had a fantastic time & LOVED being with their cousins...thanks, Sarah & David for making the drive from Philadelphia with your mom. We love you guys!!!

Lily especially LOVED my cousin's daughter, Maddy. They are about a year apart but played perfectly together for hours non-stop!! Not bad for a day without naps.

My dad in all his glory enjoying time with our sweet prize from China.  Lily licked the icing off of 4 cupcakes ... hilarious!!
My adorable cousin Blair with our new dog, "Annie-Cupcake". 
Lily putting her first ornament on the tree.
Hannah's first ornament.
We bought these bell ornaments when we were in China with Lily ... happiness to see her hanging them on the tree!

It's a good thing that I am not a perfectionist because I let the kids put ornaments wherever they like .. even if they are all clumped together.  Who really cares, right? 

More of the ornaments that Lily hung on the tree ... you should see the bottom of the tree!  It is just one clump of ornaments after another ... she prefers them that way!!!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

God is good & I continue to trust Him each day as He leads me with His peace that surpasses understanding. 

All God's best from HOME in KY,